Following England’s defeat in the second one day international against India, Kevin Pietersen praised match-winner Yuvraj Singh who dominated England with bat and ball in Indore. The 26-year-old scored his second century in as many games before proceeding to take 4-28 to condemn England to defeat, writes Thomas Rooney, exclusively for The Village Cricketer.

Unsurprisingly this meant that Yuvraj received the man-of-the-match award for the second time in the series and Pietersen admitted that the Indian is very much a man on top of his game. The England captain said that ‘the boy’s playing good cricket’. Perhaps a slight understatement from KP – but true none the less.

As for the man himself, Yuvraj believes that his recent success is down to sheer hard work by saying that he has been ‘trainer harder than ever’ and that the ‘electrifying atmosphere’ inside the stadium also played its part. It certainly seems that Yuvraj is the type of character that revels in big occasions – the bigger the stage, the more he will perform.

Pietersen wasn’t just talking about the Indian talisman after the defeat though. The Hampshire man also revealed that to win cricket matches ‘we need the bowlers to take wickets and the batsmen to score runs.’ Hmm. It’s that type of analysis that got him the job I presume?

Seriously though, what KP is getting at with this comment is that each player needs to be more defined in their role. I’m not convinced that enough players are aware of what their specific duties are in the team. Take Ravi Bopara for example. He isn’t getting a sniff with the ball and is batting at number eight. This just doesn’t suit him. If selected he should be much higher up the order. If not, you may as well stick Graham Swann in at eight for the extra spinning option.

In fairness to England though, at least they competed in this game. Chasing 293 to win, they were in the game at times. When Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff came together, the cricket odds suggested that England could get within touching distance. In reality though, the game was lost when the bowlers allowed India to reach 292. A score of 240 would have been much more achievable.

As Pietersen says though, England did improve from the last game and will hopefully improve once more when the teams meet in Kanpur on Thursday. In terms of whether changes should be made for this game, well I’d have had Swann in from the start so he needs to come in. Even it means replacing Bopara of whom I am a big fan.

Other than that, I’m not sure how many changes can be made given the other players in the squad. It will just be a case of hoping India have an off day and England can improve a bit again. Cricket betting will undoubtedly favour an India win, but if KP’s men can bat first for once, it will be interesting to see if the hosts are as successful chasing down a total.

Final word has to go to Yuvraj Singh though. This is a man that has lost his place in the test side recently, but considering he has smashed around England bowlers that will be playing in the tests and dismissed top-order England batsmen that will be playing in the tests – I think there is every chance he will get the nod for the longer form of the game.